Human Resources Department Structure at Large Public Institutions


This research investigates the organizational structure and staffing of HR departments at five large public institutions. We explore how and why administrators organize and restructure HR departments, the roles and responsibilities of HR staff, and how administrators assess the success of their offices.

Key observations from our research

1. Three profiled institutions structure their human resources (HR) departments into functional teams, while two profiled institutions recently switched to “centers of expertise” (i.e., centers of excellence) models.

2. To reorganize HR departments, administrators create and communicate strategic plans to all institutional staff and administrators, and help dissatisfied HR staff secure new positions in other departments.

3. At all profiled institutions, staff members in individual academic and administrative divisions also complete HR tasks.

4. To automate tasks and increase departmental efficiency, HR administrators at profiled institutions expand their utilization of technology products and data analytics.

5. HR administrators at profiled institutions hope to transform HR departments into strategic partners that provide professional, consultative services to other divisions within the institution.

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